NBA Picks Experts: Celtics vs Trail Blazers, March 8, 2023

NBA Picks Experts: Celtics vs Trail Blazers, March 8, 2023

 

Odds

Time 7:00 p.m. EST
Trail Blazers money line +420
Trail Blazers spread +9.5 (-110)
Celtics money line -556
Celtics spread -9.5 (-110)
Over / under 231.5

 

2022-2023 season stats

  Portland Trail Blazers Boston Celtics
Record 31-34 45-21
Home / road record 14-19 25-9
Streak W1 L2
Points per game 114.00 117.00
Points allowed per game 115.00 112.00
Rebounds per game 42.00 44.00
Rebounds allowed per game 43.00 43.00
Over / under record 31-33-1 33-32-1
 

Preview

The Boston Celtics will face off against the Portland Trail Blazers in a highly anticipated matchup on Wednesday, March 8th, 2023. This game will feature two of the NBA's top scorers in Jayson Tatum and Damian Lillard. While the Trail Blazers are currently in 12th place in the Western Conference with a record of 31-34, the Celtics are sitting comfortably in second place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 45-21. The Celtics will have Tatum back on the court after missing some games due to a knee injury, and they are the favorites to win with a -9.5 point spread. In this article, we will provide an in-depth preview of both teams, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and past performances to predict the likely outcome of this exciting matchup.

 

Portland Trail Blazers

The Western Conference is always competitive, and it's no different this year. Portland is currently sitting in 10th place, tied with three other teams for the final play-in spot. They're on the road for this game, which has been a challenge for them this season, with a 14-19 record away from home. But even without starting center Jusuf Nurkic, they have a key player who has been carrying the team: Damian Lillard.

Lillard has been on fire since the start of 2023, averaging 36.1 points, 7.2 assists, and 5.1 rebounds per game. In their recent win against the Miami Heat, Lillard finished with a triple-double, scoring 31 points, grabbing 13 rebounds, and dishing out 12 assists. Despite being outrebounded by 14, Portland managed to lead wire-to-wire and cover the spread.

Portland's offensive rating this season is sixth in the league, thanks in large part to Lillard's scoring ability. The team has an effective field goal percentage of 55.9%, which ranks ninth in the NBA, and they shoot the three-ball at a clip of 37.5%, the eighth-highest in the league. The Blazers also excel at free-throw shooting, hitting 80.6% of their attempts, good for sixth in the league. However, they struggle with turnovers, ranking 22nd in offensive turnover percentage.

On the other hand, the Blazers have struggled on the defensive end, with a rating that's 27th in the league. While they don't allow many three-point attempts, ranking fifth in the league, they rank in the bottom half of nearly every other defensive statistic.

Overall, the Blazers are in a tough spot, fighting for a playoff spot in a tight Western Conference race. With Lillard's hot hand, they'll have a chance in any game, but their defensive struggles and inconsistent play on the road make it difficult to predict their success.

 

Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics have hit a rough patch, dropping three straight games after holding win probabilities of 92% or higher in each of those games, according to ESPN. While they have maintained a top record in the NBA for most of the season, a recent stretch of four losses in five games has dropped them to second place in the Eastern Conference, behind the surging Milwaukee Bucks. However, the Celtics remain a playoff-bound team and have their sights set on securing home court advantage, especially after last season's Game 7 loss to the Bucks.

In their most recent loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Celtics were missing three starters, including superstar Jayson Tatum. Despite being up by 11 with under five minutes remaining in the game, they were unable to hold on and lost in overtime. The absence of Tatum, along with Robert Williams III, Al Horford, and Payton Pritchard, has put a dent in the Celtics' depth and scoring potential. However, Jaylen Brown has been a bright spot for the team, consistently putting up impressive numbers such as his 32 points, 13 rebounds, and nine assists in the loss to the Cavaliers.

Despite their recent struggles, the Celtics remain one of the league's top teams, ranking second in net rating this season. Their offensive rating is third in the league, and they rank in the top 10 in various categories such as effective field goal percentage, turnover percentage, free throw percentage, and three-point percentage. However, the Celtics could improve in certain areas such as getting to the free throw line more often, where they currently rank 26th in the league, and taking more shots at the rim, where they rank 23rd.

On the defensive end, the Celtics are among the league's best, ranking fourth in defensive rating. They also rank in the top 10 in various defensive categories such as opponent offensive rebound percentage, opponent free throw rate, opponent effective field goal percentage, and block percentage. However, they struggle to force turnovers, ranking 28th in turnover percentage.

Looking ahead to their upcoming game, the Celtics may still be without several key players. Robert Williams III will be sidelined for at least a week, while Tatum, Horford, and Pritchard are all questionable for the game. Nonetheless, the Celtics have proven to be a resilient team, and their remaining players will have to step up to fill the void left by the injured players.

In order to get back on track, the Celtics will need to continue relying on their strengths while improving in certain areas. The return of their injured players, particularly Tatum, will undoubtedly give the team a boost, but in the meantime, they will have to rely on their depth to keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

In conclusion, the Boston Celtics may be going through a rough patch, but they remain one of the league's top teams. Their recent struggles can be attributed to injuries and a lack of depth, but their strengths on both ends of the court give them reason to remain optimistic. The playoffs are still in their sights, and with a healthy Tatum and the rest of their roster playing to their potential, the Celtics will be a formidable opponent for any team in the postseason.

 

BETTING TRENDS

The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Portland's last 5 games.

Portland are 2-4 SU in their last 6 games against Boston.

Portland are 4-12 ATS in their last 16 games on the road.

The total has gone OVER in 4 of Portland's last 6 games when playing on the road against Boston.

Portland are 3-11 ATS in their last 14 games against an opponent in the Eastern Conference conference.

Boston are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games.

The total has gone OVER in 8 of Boston's last 11 games.

Boston are 1-4 SU in their last 5 games.

The total has gone OVER in 6 of Boston's last 6 games against Portland.

The total has gone OVER in 5 of Boston's last 6 games at home.

 

Prediction

The Celtics are likely to come out with a sense of urgency and motivation in this game, as they look to bounce back from their recent losing streak. With Tatum returning to the court, they will be able to utilize their top scorer and rebounder to their fullest potential. Despite the absence of Robert Williams III and the questionable status of Horford and Pritchard, the Celtics still have a solid roster that has been able to win games even without key players.

One advantage the Celtics have in this matchup is their impressive home record, with a 25-9 record at TD Garden this season. Playing at home gives them the comfort of their familiar surroundings and the support of their fans, which could be a significant factor in their performance. On the other hand, the Blazers have struggled on the road, with a 14-19 record away from home, and it remains to be seen if they can handle the pressure of playing in a hostile environment.

Another factor to consider is the difference in defensive ratings between the two teams. While the Blazers have struggled on defense this season, the Celtics have been one of the best defensive teams in the league, ranking fourth in defensive rating. Their ability to limit their opponents' scoring and force turnovers could prove to be crucial in this game, especially if they can capitalize on their offensive opportunities.

The Celtics also have a well-rounded offensive attack, with multiple players capable of scoring and creating opportunities for their teammates. Brown has been on a tear lately, putting up impressive numbers and providing the team with a much-needed boost, but players like Marcus Smart and Josh Richardson could also step up and contribute to the team's success.

Overall, while the Blazers have a talented roster led by the red-hot Lillard, they will be facing a tough challenge on the road against a motivated Celtics team that is looking to get back on track. With Tatum back in the lineup and their defensive prowess, the Celtics should be able to secure a win at home and cover the -9.5 point spread. 

 

PICK: Celtics -9.5 (-110)

 

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